Publication Date: December 2005
Publisher: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Author(s): Manfred Gerstenfeld
Research Area: Culture and religion
Keywords: Messianism; Organizational Development; Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Judaism; Jewish Outreach
The author interviews Professor Samuel Heilman about the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, its worldwide outreach activity, its growing influence in the Jewish world, and the controversies surrounding it. The willingness of Chabad Hasidim to travel and to live in places with few or no other Orthodox Jews has been decisive to Chabad's success, Heilman contends. Chabad also brings Hasidism and Orthodox Jewish practice into the public square and into the mainstream consciousness of world Jewry, Heilman explains, zeroing in on crucial areas of the life-cycle. While Chabad messianism has come under severe criticism, Heilman notes, more established groups of Orthodoxy feel insecure and do not have adherents willing to dedicate their lives to missionary activity, and so are reluctant to alienate Chabad.